Iraqi gov't blames Sunni insurgents for clashes

The government is blaming Sunni Arab insurgents for this week's clashes in a Sunni area of Baghdad, saying the guerrillas were responsible for the attacks that residents believed were carried out by Shi'ite death squads. In a statement late Wednesday, the office of Prime Minister Ibrahim al-Jaafari blamed three insurgent groups for provoking the clashes by purporting to be Shi'ite militiamen and Interior Ministry commandoes. The statement identified the three insurgent groups as the Islamic Army of Iraq, the 1920 Revolution Brigades and al-Qaida in Iraq. According to the statement, the insurgents "have received orders to send elements to Baghdad for armed displays and to destabilize the city because of its political, demographic and media importance." "They launched ugly rumors that they belong to the Interior Ministry commando force. These armed groups started to shoot at an Iraqi army camp in two assaults using rocket-propelled grenades and light weapons in the Azamiyah alleys," the statement added. It said no Interior Ministry troops were involved in the Azamiyah clashes.